The Calgary Flames have had a season for the ages, and one of the biggest and Hart Trophy-worthy, reasons for their success has been the play of Johnny Gaudreau. Already setting a new career-high in points, the winger has made yet another mark in the NHL history books.
With his secondary assist on the first Flames goal against the Nashville Predators, Gaudreau has now scored at least a point against all 31 teams this season. Although he isn’t the first to achieve this mark (among league scoring leaders, Jonathan Huberdeau did so on April 15 in the Florida Panthers’ game against the Winnipeg Jets), the accomplishment is still incredible to say the least.
The chance to score against 31 teams in the regular season was a new mark this seasons with the Seattle Kraken joining the NHL. Prior to 2021–22, this was not achievable in 2020–21 due to the pandemic-restricted divisional realignments.
And even then, with the paused-then-pro-rated 2019–20 season, players wouldn’t have had the opportunity to score against all 30 opponents due to not playing all 82 games in the schedule. Among the top 10 point scorers that season, only Patrick Kane successfully registered at least one point against all 30 teams before the season was paused.
Scoring against all opponents is a tough task
For the 2021–22 season with 82 games split between 31 teams, the the breakdown of games played against opponents for every team is as follows:
|Opponent||Game Split||Total Games|
|Same division||4 GP vs 5 opponents, 3 GP vs 2 opponents||26|
|Same conference, non-divisional||3 GP vs 8 opponents||24|
|Other conference||2 GP vs 16 opponents||32|
Obviously the hardest part about recording points against every team is when playing in interconference games. With just two opportunities per season, it’s a lot easier to not score than it is to score in those games. Scoring against all teams in a season is exceedingly difficult, even for the most prolific of scorers. As a sample, here’s how the league’s 100+ point scorers not named Huberdeau or Gaudreau have fared.
Despite leading the league in overall points, Connor McDavid‘s 110 points can not cover all 31 teams. He failed to score on the Carolina Hurricanes and Montreal Canadiens in the Edmonton Oilers’ two matches against both teams. Also, when he wasn’t rostered due to being in protocol, McDavid missed one game against the Toronto Maple Leafs and was held off the scoreboard in the other.
His teammate Leon Draisaitl has scored at least one point against 30 teams, but like McDavid, was also held off the scoresheet against the Hurricanes. In both of Carolina’s games against the Oilers, they kept Edmonton’s best scorers off the scoresheet and won both games with a combined score of 5–2.
Auston Matthews has also scored against 30 teams, and would have had one last an opportunity to make it all 31, but was sidelined with an minor injury in the Leafs’ last game against the New York Islanders, thus keeping him scoreless against them this year and capping his total at 30 teams.
Clearly, scoring a point against 31 teams is worthy of great praise with just how rare it is. Players have to score consistently, and they need to have some luck on the injury front too. Thus it leaves both Huberdeau and Gaudreau with a seriously impressive accomplishment and makes them answers to obscure NHL trivia questions.
No team is safe from Gaudreau
Turning the attention back to solely Gaudreau, this is how his season has gone against the other 31 teams so far.
Gaudreau’s goal scoring galore
A total of 23 teams have ceded a goal to Gaudreau in 2021–22. He can add to that total before the season’s over. Having one more game against the Predators, as well as against the Minnesota Wild and Winnipeg Jets, if he scores against all three opponents then he would have scored a goal against 26 total teams. And even if he doesn’t, scoring on 23 of 31 teams—or 74% of the league—is still mightily impressive.
Teams that have already successfully avoided a Gaudreau goal against are the Columbus Blue Jackets, Detroit Red Wings, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Washington Capitals.
He’s enjoyed scoring goals against the Chicago Blackhawks with a total of four goals in three games, and also has three goals to his name against the Arizona Coyotes, Los Angeles Kings spread across their games, and a hat trick against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
A natural playmaker
In a similar comparison, Gaudreau has assisted on goals against 26 teams. There’s a chance that he can bring that total up to 28 teams if he can assist on goals in the Flames’ upcoming games against the Dallas Stars and Vancouver Canucks. For the curious, assists against 26 of 31 teams equates to a whopping 84% of the league.
Gaudreau won’t be able to pick up assists against the Hurricanes, Canadiens, or Lightning, but as mentioned, he has instead scored goals against all three teams.
He’s picked up seven assists against both the Anaheim Ducks and the Oilers, as well as five each against the Coyotes and Blue Jackets.
Gaudreau’s splits versus opponents
Here is the full table of Gaudreau’s splits against all 31 teams. He’s scored 24 points against three teams with eight points each against the Ducks, Coyotes, and Oilers. Just five teams have held him to one point so far, and there’s a chance this total drops down to three teams.
|Columbus Blue Jackets||2||0||5||5|
|Detroit Red Wings||2||0||3||3|
|Los Angeles Kings||3||3||2||5|
|New Jersey Devils||2||1||1||2|
|New York Islanders||2||1||3||4|
|New York Rangers||2||2||2||4|
|San Jose Sharks||4||2||3||5|
|St. Louis Blues||3||2||3||5|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||2||3||0||3|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||2||0||2||2|
|Vegas Golden Knights||3||1||1||2|
An individual season for the ages
While Darryl Sutter will never be impressed about individual accomplishments, there’s no denying Gaudreau has achieved so much this year. In 2021–22, here’s just a small snapshot of what he has done:
- Hit the 100-point mark for the first time in his career (and first Flame since Theoren Fleury in 1992–93).
- Scored his 600th career point and is sole possession of fifth all-time in Flames franchise history, having passed Gary Roberts (505), Mark Giordano (509), and Gary Suter (564) this year.
- Is on pace for 40-plus goals for the first time in his career.
- Became the fifth player in franchise history to reach 70 assists (and first since Al MacInnis in 1990–91).
- Currently has a league-leading plus-61 rating in 77 games played. The last time a player finished a season with a plus-minus rating of at least 60 was 1995–96 by Vladimir Konstantinov of the Detroit Red Wings, back when the NHL Plus-Minus Award was still a thing.
- And of course, he’s scored at least a point against all 31 opponents in the first season that such a feat was possible.
The Flames would be doing the reasonable thing in giving Gaudreau a blank cheque this offseason, and the NHL/PHWA would be doing right by awarding him with the Hart Trophy. Gaudreau has done it all in 2012–22. Just a few more checkboxes to tend to once the playoffs start.